We (along with many others) were thrilled to hear the news about a woman playing the 13th Doctor in the upcoming season of Doctor Who. So to celebrate we thought why not share some of our favourite books featuring girls with gusto, gumption and unapologetic confidence. They’re charging full-speed ahead no matter the challenge, allowing nothing to get in their way. They’ve got spunk, they’ve got brains, and they’re not afraid to stand tall in the face of obstacles. Whether fiery or calm, these heroines will give young ones the courage to dare to believe in themselves—all with some fun and laughs along the way! ~ Nicole Abi-Najem
1. Ada Twist, Scientist
Equipped boundless curiosity, Scientist Ada ventures to explore the world around her by asking important questions: why are there pointy things stuck on the rose? Why are their hairs growing inside your nose? When her house suddenly fills with a cringe-worthy smell, it’s the perfect opportunity for Ada to put her scientific skills to use. She embarks on a mission to discover the source of the stink, relying on scientific experiments, even if it means a potential for more stink and trouble!
2. Rosie Revere, Engineer
Rosie is a quiet, but brilliant inventor who takes to creating gizmos and gadgets in the hopes of one day becoming a great engineer. One day when her great-great aunt comes for a visit, she let’s Rosie in on a long-time goal: she wants to fly! Well, great-great aunt Rose has certainly come to the right person. Rosie plunges into the work of creating a flying contraption. Encountering challenges along the way, Rosie soon declares her mission a failure, but great-great aunt Rose tells her you can only truly fail if you quit.
3. The Wonderful Pigs of Jillian Jiggs
by Phoebe Gilman (3-5)
This is a fun and rhythmic tale of the enterprising Jillian Jiggs, who after discovering that buttons look strikingly familiar to pigs’ noses, embarks on an extravagant pig-making enterprise. From pirage pigs, princess pigs, striped pigs and plaid pigs, Jillian Jiggs sets to creating her little friends and selling them for ten cents each.
4. I Like Myself!
Bursting with energy and as fun to read as Dr. Seuss, this ode to self-esteem will have us saying, yes, we love our selves no matter wet days or dry days, no matter wild days or tame, no matter the hair being big or the hair being small, because we are so glad to be just us! All at once serious and silly, kids will be sure to appreciate this marvelously written and illustrated tale.
5. Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion
by Alex T. Smith (3-5)
Give it up for Little Red. This is one girl with gumption. Living is in the hot planes of Africa, she’s certainly not afraid of some big, hungry lion. While the furry feline may have some us shaking in our boots, Little Red stands up and stares at him like he’s a big old teddy, even when he threatens to eat her. That big mane of his is about to be done up and you’ll be sure to be laughing along the way to this fantastic twist to a well-known fairy tale.
6. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
by Grace Lin (8-12)
This is fantastic epic journey, in which young Minli leaves her Valley of Fruitless Mountain in order to save her family from a life of poverty. Once restricted to a life of hard labour, she travels in search of the Jade Dragon, the Old Man of the Moon and other fantastical creatures her parents have told her about growing up. While they believe it’s just fantasy, Minli believes these stories hold truth.When day she sets off to find the Old Man of the Moon, she meets . Filled with intricate illustrations, Chinese mythology drawing on the author’s own interests and culture, we are about to be swept away by a girl with incomparable strength.
7. Akilak’s Adventure
Akilak must travel a great distance to another camp to gather food, but she doesn’t believe she will have enough strength to make it. Luckily, grandmother’s spirit is there to help Akilak. The young girl finds entertainment from her imagination, and turns the adventure into the journey. Eve Even at the points that are too overwhelming, her grandmother’s spirit is there to guide her and give her assurance.
8. Harriet the Spy
by Louise Fitzhugh (8-12)
With a pen and notebook always in tow, Harriet makes no qualms about it: she is a brilliant spy. Stalking the alleyways and streets of a bustling New York, the little sleuth is always jotting down her keen observations, including some ruthless notes about her classmates and friends. Make no mistake, this isn’t some dear diary, these are cutting and sharp notes, one that lands her in trouble. However, it makes for an unforgettable story, and one awesome heroine.
9. Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon
Sometimes, we must dare to love ourselves. Even if our voice sounds like a frog, or if we are short or bucked of tooth, as in the case of Molly Lou Melon. The young girl takes the wisdom of her most beloved grandmother, who teaches Molly to love herself no matter what. That’s just what Molly does; while others stare down at her, she stands tall.
10. Gabby Garcia’s Ultimate Playbook
by Iva-Marie Palmer (8-12)
Perfect for any sports, especially baseball, fanatics; all-star pitcher Gabby Garcia’s insanely detailed diary of her sports triumphs are gripping to follow. Until she’s suddenly sent to a new school, where her winning streak may just disappear. Follow Gabby, the girl that never gives up, as she plans to remain a champion and gives us a rundown of her play-by-play adventures. The book is filled with funny illustrations, sports facts, and blooper-reel moments that will have readers laughing and rooting for more.
by Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Brooke A. Allen and Noelle Stevenson (9-12)
Mal, Ripley, Molly, April, and Jo are four girls who go on some pretty epic rip-and-ride adventures at scount camp be it strange creatures and supernatural phenomena they encounter there. Each of these spunky ladies brings their own unique set of skills and talent to overcome all the bizarre creatures in their way.
12. The Princess in Black
She’s a traditional princess by day, but when the monster alarm rings, it’s whip-snap-bang: she’s The Princess in Black! Magnolia is ready to take on monsters, rescue her fellow citizens, and show us what she’s got, all while keeping it a secret from her persnickety duchess. Filled with action-packed drama, this series will have readers laughing, mesmerized by the illustrations, and begging for more.